A former pensions minister has claimed her warnings that changes to the state-pension age would have a detrimental impact on women were ignored at all levels of government.
As pensions minister from May 2015 to May 2016, Ros Altmann was repeatedly lobbied by Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi). This group represents women who believe that changes to the state-pension system agreed by parliament in 2011 were poorly publicised, with millions of women not realising they would have to wait longer before claiming their state-pension benefits.
While in office, Altmann told campaigners the government could not change course or offer compensation. On stepping down, however, she attacked the government for its intransigence on the issue. Now she has gone one step further, claiming that both Steve Webb, then the work and pensions minister, and Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state, had refused to listen to her concerns or to consider delaying the plans. Altmann also claims she had drawn up an alternative plan for reform that would eventually have delivered bigger savings than the initial proposals, but says that this was ignored.
The Waspi campaign is calling for a bridging pension to be paid to women whose retirement age has been put back by the 2011 reforms, but successive governments have rejected the idea.